Perspectives Newsletter Winter 2021
Vol. 43, no.4 / Posted on March 15, 2021


Dear Colleague Members of CSBE,

As we watch the snow melt, and grass re-appearing, we look forward to the new life that will emerge in the coming weeks with Spring. And indeed it is a new life, not just climatologically, but as we watch with cautious optimism the slow return to a post-pandemic period. It is going to be a different life in many ways. Thanks to rapid advances in vaccine technology, we have hopes for a return to some form of ‘normal”, and perhaps positively to the way we knew life prior to March 2020. But at the same time, we have learned to adapt over the past 12 months, and telecommuting may be a new normal for some of us. Certainly universities have changed the way courses are delivered, and there will be some, both teachers and students, who see the benefits of mixed mode on-line teaching combined with in-person classroom and lab teaching.


The Local Organizing Committee is pleased to announce its general preliminary program with joint meetings, several renowned guest speakers, panel discussions, a series of special technical sessions, virtual technical tours, and a full week of technical workshops (post-conference). During the first round of abstract submission, more than 600 contributions were accepted. We are hoping to have them all presenting during this unique virtual conference.

To ensure the smooth running of the event, the LOC has partnered with Conférium, a company that specializes in organizing virtual scientific events. The conference will be held on the Zoom platform, following a program developed to be accessible across the country and internationally in real time and in replay. 

We invite you to look at the general program, activities, and post-conference workshops. You can register now at a very affordable rate. The prelimiary technial program will be available by May 1st.

General Program and virtual Activities


CSBE/SCGAB Annual General Meeting

The CSBE/SCGAB AGM will be held virtually on Wednesday, May 12. An invitation will be sent to you later by email with the agenda and the Zoom link.


Message to Authors:

Please read the Virtual Conference Presentation Guidelines to learn how will the conference work, how to transfer your abstract(s) to the new platform, and how to prepare and submit your presentation. You have until April 10th to transfer your accepted abstract in the new system and to register to the conference.

Virtual Presentation Guidelines for Authors


In the wake of postponement of the 5th CIGR International Conference 2020 and annual CSBE-SCGAB conference, the CSBE-SCGAB executive council made the decision to provide the opportunity to members and students to present their research in a series of webinars. From September of 2020 to February of this year, 25 students were successfully able to present their research on a wide range of topics. The work presented was impressive in both its quality and its diversity.  It also provided participants with the opportunity to experience a new medium for the presentation of their work and develop invaluable communications skills in its use. To this end, the CSBE-SCGAB is planning a second series of webinars for the summer of 2021.

To participate in the new webinar series, abstracts must be submitted no later than April 1st 2021. Your abstract should be limited to 250 words. It should clearly identify your academic affiliations, the primary contact person and their contact information, especially their email.

Notification of acceptance will be provided by April 23, 2021 with tentative scheduling. Presentations will be scheduled during the months of June, July, and August and will take place on the Friday of every second week beginning at 10 am Pacific daylight savings time. Presentations are to be maximum of 15 minutes in length followed by 5 minutes for questions.

Abstracts are to be submitted directly to Keith Duhaime at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., CSBE-SCGAB Webinar Coordinator.

You can listen to the first webinar series recordings on our website.

Dear Members,

It is time to consider and nominate a fellow member for one of the following awards. The successful candidates will be presented their awards at the virtual CSBE/SCGAB – CIGR conference May 11 -14, 2021.

Deadline: To Awards Committee by April 1st, 2021.

Check our website ( for details. Thanks for considering this.

  • Maple Leaf Award is acknowledging members who have distinguished themselves as leaders in the profession.
  • John Ogilvie Research Innovation Award is acknowledging outstanding contributions to research, in any field of research relevant to CSBE/SCGAB, by an individual or team of researchers.
  • Young Engineer of the Year Award is acknowledging outstanding work of a young engineer of the Society and to encourage outstanding work by young members of the Society
  • John Turnbull Award is acknowledging outstanding work in building systems, or waste management in industry, teaching, research, or extension.
  • Glenn Downing Award is acknowledging outstanding work in industry, teaching, research, or extension in the area of machinery systems, or bioenergy systems.
  • Jim Beamish Award is acknowledging outstanding work in industry, teaching, research, or extension in the area of soil and water, or environmental sciences
  • John Clark Award is acknowledging  outstanding work in industry, teaching, research, or extension in one or more of the fields of food engineering, or related industry
  • Industrial Award is acknowledging industries that have produced a distinguished product or service requiring engineering skill, which has contributed significantly to the fields of agriculture, food processing, or other biological industry.
  • Fellow Awards - "Grade of Fellow" is acknowledging members of outstanding and extraordinary qualifications and experience in the field of agricultural, food, and/or biological engineering, and shall have met all the requirements for the grade of member.


Watershed Group, University of Guelph

Good quality climate data is available in abundance via multiple platforms and resources (e.g., NASA Earthdata, ESGF, etc.). However, leveraging such data can be a monumental barrier and challenge for hydrologists, water resource engineers and environmental scientists. The Watershed Group at University of Guelph (UoG), headed by Dr. Prasad Daggupati, has created numerous web applications that source, interpret and manage climate data for applicable use in hydrological modelling and earth sciences. These applications incorporate data pipelines that periodically access climate data from numerous sources, and make it available for ready use in popular environmental models.


Can-GLWS is our Data as a Service (DaaS) platform that allows application users to download SWAT-ready climate data (historical, climate change scenarios and weather statistics) of a pre-specified region within the Canadian Great Lakes watersheds. SWAT is a highly popular tool for hydrologic and watershed modelling, and is widely used in the Canadian Great Lakes region for hydrologic modelling and watershed management decision support. The Can-GLWS application is available at

The APWS application provides weather statistics for the Asia Pacific region that can be used in the SWAT-compatible WXGN weather generator, for generating synthetic weather time-series for any location (or multiple locations) in the Asia Pacific region.  Weather statistics of APWS is a hybrid dataset, derived from APHRODITE and CFSR climate variables. APWS statistics can be downloaded for any area of interest within Asia Pacific, through the following web application:

The Watershed group at UoG is currently developing numerous additional data services for assisting hydrologic modelers and environmental scientists. These applications include a global weather data service for hydrological modelling. This application, called the World Water Weather Service (W3S), will provision users to request historical weather data from anywhere on the globe, and prepare requested data in popular modelling formats, including SWAT, HEC-HMS etc.

By Sylvio Tessier (Ph.D), Past President of CSBE

Limitations of precision planting in conservation agriculture include the capacity of dealing with high residue cover, traveling at high field speeds, and control of uniform seed placement. To overcome these limitations, Dr. Hongwen Li at China Agricultural University (CAU) developed some technologies for precision planting in no-till systems. The technologies have several innovative features, including high speed and accurate seed placement.

The metering mechanism was innovatively designed to improve the effectiveness of feeding and sigulation. It facilitates a stable seed placement, and therefore solving the long-standing problems of ununiform seed placement at high field speeds. The type of openers used are good choices, as they have low soil disturbance and high ability of cutting crop residues. The openers are equipped with a depth-control mechanism capable of following the field surface contour, so that the variation of field surface does not affect the opener cutting depth. The resultant seeding depth is expected to be uniform across the field.

Dr. Li also proposed the concept of strip seeding and put it into use on a no-till seeder. Same as strip tillage, strip seeding is considered as a special form of conservation practices. The no-till seeder was able to seed wheat on fresh corn stubbles. Seeding in such a system has been very challenging in the past, but Dr. Li made it possible.

No-till seeding is a sustainable farming practice that is the trend of future agriculture. Precision planting is at the centre of no-till seeding for increasing crop yields. Researchers in North America are looking forward to hearing more about the further development of promising technologies, like the high-speed precision planting and strip seeding technologies of CAU.

par Julien Malard; laboratoire de Jan Adamowski (Génie des bioressources, McGill)

La modélisation participative est fréquemment utilisée afin d’améliorer l’implication des parties prenantes et des communautés locales dans la prise de décision pour la gestion des ressources naturelles. Lorsqu’on travaille à l’étranger, cependant, les méthodes habituelles ne fonctionnent pas toujours aussi bien. Dans le cas des régions indigènes, de même que dans toute région du monde où les institutions ne sont pas toutes représentatives de la population générale, un projet de modélisation participative trop rapidement organisé risque de manquer l’implication de la grande majorité de la population « bénéficiaire ». Il faut donc prendre une approche sociale en plus de technique et prendre grand soin d’aller rechercher toutes les parties prenantes – et ensuite de créer un environnement sain dans lequel tout le monde peut s’exprimer en liberté et en sécurité.

Notre laboratoire de recherche est présentement impliqué dans un tel projet au sujet de la gestion des ressources en eau dans le bassin versant du lac Atitlán au Guatemala. C’est une région fortement indigène (96% Maya), et la gestion de l’eau est un enjeu qui génère de vives tensions entre partisans de différents projets proposés pour traiter les eaux usées. Tout particulièrement, une proposition récente d’acheminer les eaux usées à l’extérieur du bassin versant pour y être traitées et utilisées pour l’irrigation agroindustrielle a généré un très vif débat. Le tout est aggravé par l’historique de violence envers les opposants de projets industriels dans le pays.

Nous avons donc amorcé un processus de modélisation participative axé sur la méthodologie de modélisation des dynamiques des systèmes, tout en portant attention à l’inclusion de toutes les parties prenantes, en particulier celles indigènes qui avaient été exclues des processus participatifs des projets antérieurs. En premier lieu, l’utilisation des langues provenant de la région (Kaqchikel, Tz’utujil et K’iche’) comme moyen de communication principal pour l’équipe facilita la participation des communautés indigènes à tous les niveaux du projet. En outre, nous avons ajouté l’option de participer de façon orale, car les taux d’analphabétismes demeurent élevés dans la région.

En fin de compte, nous avons eu une participation indigène beaucoup plus importante (62%) qu’aurait été possible sans cette approche inclusive, même si elle demeure en-deçà du pourcentage d’individus indigènes dans la population générale. Le taux de représentation des femmes était aux alentours de 24% ; cependant, ce taux était nettement moins élevé pour le cas des femmes indigènes. Ces résultats, quoiqu’ils indiquent un certain progrès, soulignent en même temps des opportunités pour l’amélioration future. Malgré cela, le processus de participation souleva des résultats intéressants. La participation des parties prenantes indigènes permit d’identifier des grandes différences de point de vue et nous permit de développer un modèle plus complet. En outre, les objectifs et mesures de progrès furent élargies (non seulement la qualité, mais aussi la quantité et l’équité de l’accès à l’eau), et un grand nombre de solutions alternatives pour les problèmes d’eutrophication furent proposées (agriculture écologique, bandes de filtration naturelle, toilettes sèches).

Olds College and TD Bank Group are collaborating to develop and deliver the Autonomous Agriculture Education Series Sponsored by TD Bank Group. This three-phase education series designed to take producers on a journey from a concept through to the adoption of practice on their own operations. The first session was held virtually and had over 200 participants from 8 different countries.

For more information: